UCHealth has announced the appointment of Noreen Bernard, Ed.D., RN, NEA-BC, as chief nursing officer (CNO) for UCHealth Longs Peak Hospital in Longmont. She will begin her new role on 9th September.
Bernard’s position as chief nursing officer involves being a supervising administrator and requires oversight of all nursing personnel and activities. It is a leadership role that requires a deep understanding of the nursing profession, administration, management, and the specific characteristics of the medical facility.
Bernard described her goals at Longs Peak Hospital as including leadership development for incumbent and future leaders, advancement of the existing organizational innovations, preparation of clinicians and support staff for the impending growth, and the creation of a culture comprised of deep relationships, a genuine sense of community, and a commitment to clinical excellence and patient experience. Strategically aligning the work at Longs Peak with the UCHealth priorities is top of mind for her. She believes that the groundwork is in place already with a fantastic team.
Certainly an impressive vision for her future at UCHealth, but Bernard has an impressive resume to back it up.
The Cherry Creek High School graduate attended Colorado State University and studied biology where she had what she describes as an “ah-ha moment”. She realized that she could combine her passion for both people and science in the nursing field and she transferred to the nursing school at the University of Northern Colorado. She obtained her Master of Science degree in nursing administration from the University of Colorado, and a doctorate in organizational leadership from Grand Canyon University in Arizona.
Bernard worked in multiple roles at Centura Health in Colorado, including vice president of professional resources and then moved to Emory Healthcare in Atlanta. She made the move to learn as much as she could from whom she considered one of the best chief nurse executives in the nation at one of the most renowned academic medical institutions in the world.
There she had the opportunity to immerse herself in a culture where she could drive advancements in nursing leader development and nursing practice while contributing to academic nursing within the university. She is currently the vice president of professional nursing practice and an adjunct assistant professor at the Emory University Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing.
Bernard is looking forward to coming “home” to Colorado. She has two adult children, a 24-year-old son in Lakewood and a 21-year-old daughter, who is a college basketball player at Valdosta State University in Georgia. Her mother and siblings live in Castle Rock, and she has a brother in Boulder. She has extended family and many friends across the Front Range.
Being a chief nursing officer is a lifestyle and a labor of love and requires multiple competencies. Bernard loves health care because no two days are alike. She knows that being in the driver’s seat comes with extraordinary responsibility because what is done inside the organization affects the community she serves. She describes CNOs as culture architects, which is highly challenging work, and is looking forward to working in the Colorado health care system that she considers extremely progressive.
Bernard will be inducted as a Fellow of the American Academy of Nursing in October. This is an honor given to less than 2% of all nurses nationally. It is recognition for value-added work that has been scaled regionally and nationally. Her many years of nursing leader development expertise, implementation of specialty nursing residencies, workforce strategy, and creation of nursing practice tool kits that improve patient outcomes have brought her back home to Colorado and will serve her as she tends to the Longmont and Northern Colorado communities.
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